How to attract more female leaders
LAUREN STILLER RIKLEEN
The Stanford School of Medicine recently launched an initiative to increase the number of women on its faculty. The programme is rooted in data that should resonate with any business or profession confronting a gender gap in its leadership ranks.
Like many organisations, the Stanford School of Medicine requires an “all-in” commitment from faculty members, which often translates to punishing hours that aren’t exactly conducive to work-life balance. Such work-life conf licts have significantly affected the school’s ability to recruit and retain women. The school has policies in place that offer f lexibility options, including unpaid leave for up to a year after the birth or adoption of a child, grants of up to $5 000 per year for child care, on-site child care options, grants for dependent care expenses incurred while travelling to attend professional meetings, and temporary reductions from full-time to part-time status for family-related needs. However, these policies have generally been underutilised and perceived as incompatible with professional norms of success.
The school realised that combating the threats to faculty excellence and growth would require a much fuller response. Rec-